Friday 29 May 2009

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Is there a better beer on a hot, sunny day? Does anything hit the spot quite like a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? I don’t think it does. Does the perfect summer beer exist? If it does then I guess it’s quite close to this. You have to serve it cold. Drink it from the bottle if you like (but you’ll disturb that gorgeous moonscape at the bottom of the bottle - you can kind of see that below if you click on the pic and enlarge it) or pour it into a glass. It’s a golden glassful, the nose is juicy with citrus and tropical fruits, the body is all biscuits and toffee, the mouthfeel is spot-on and oh-so quenching with those nibbling hops. It isn’t challenging, it doesn’t demand you to pull out distant memories of forgotten flavours, it doesn’t want you to intellectualise it; it just wants to be drunk. Why do people drink cans of Carling when this is only a few feet further up the beer aisle? Sometimes only a beer like this will do. Sometimes only Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will do.
And have you tried their Torpedo Extra IPA? That’s one damn fine beer. It seems that Americans can’t drink an IPA unless it’s 7% so Sierra Nevada have made one. It starts with sweet malt, then the hops pound in, bitter first and then dry. Bread, caramel, pine, grapefruit. There’s something so addictively drinkable about this, it’s just ace.


  1. Gotta love that Sierra Nevada, though I did drink so many one time in Alabama that I started to not enjoy them.
    Might have been more a case I was not enjoying any more beer as I was completely full.

  2. I have had something of a running gag/saga over at Beer Blokes for the past year or so because I had read so much about SNPA and how it was the inspiration for so many of Australia's craft brewers.

    I had not been able to source it, then found a shop that stocked it, got there to find it sold out, my mates drank it in front of me one night a a pub because they knew I was driving(so I have 'smelled it'!) then finally got some ... and haven't been able to drink it yet ... waiting for the right occasion! You've just inspired me, I'll crack it on the first hot day of summer! I might even wait for the Australian summer!

    Prof. Pilsner

  3. It is lovely stuff SNPA, but I think I probably get less discerning when it's hot and sunny. If I'm sitting in the sun in a nice beer garden I'll probably enjoy myself drinking anyting cold and wet.

  4. Thanks for the tip off on the Torpedo Extra - I've not come across i tbut I'm going to seek some out. I agree the pale ale is a classic summer drink but, dare I say it (this is so predictable) - Brew Dog Punk IPA! Perfect sunny day drinking for me.

  5. Helen, I have a couple of cold bottles of Punk in the fridge for after I finish work today.

    I'm going to sit and enjoy the last of the sun whilst sinking a few.

    Mark, is there anywhere local that sells Sierra Nevada? Tesco here doesn't sell it, neither do co-op. Any ideas?

  6. Don't know if there's one near you but Waitrose sell SNPA.

  7. If one was creating a list of Proper Real Keg classics, one would have to include SNPA. In saying that, there are many more classics that fall under Proper Real Keg. I'll leave it to you lot across the pond to provide the skills necessary in determining what qualifies as Proper Real Keg.

  8. Prof., drink it up man, the fresher the better, don't let it get too old!!

    Helen, I got my Torpedo at Utobeer. They might be out by now though.

    Pete, try in Waitrose as Ed suggests or go to a Tesco further away. I can get it in some Tescos near me but not all. I'm fairly lucky that there's a Tesco and Waitrose within 5 mins of each other (Larkfield/Aylesford) and from them I can get Chimay Red and Blue, Punk, Orval and SNPA (I do have to drive 20 mins to get to either of them tho!!).

    Wurst, I could've had SNPA on keg yesterday but turned it down. I had a cask English pale ale instead and it was fantastic. I do love keg SNPA but in London it's very expensive.

  9. I'm going to be controversial and suggest SNPA is perhaps a little too strong for hight-of-summer supping? A glorious beer, absolutely. But as I was quaffing away on my 3.6% Leatherbritches Goldings on Sunday afternoon, I couldn't help but marvel in the awesome simplicity of the English session ale. And how I would have loved to (and could have) carried on drinking in that same spot all day long.

  10. Personally I prefer Galway hooker but its only available in certain pubs in Ireland and not in bottles.